Posts tagged ‘Mozy’

October 28, 2010

Boring Topic Alert! But so important… can you guess?

It’s everybody’s favorite chore – Backing up digital photographs!

When did you last back up your photos? I’m going to tell my story here. This is not an exhaustive look at all the different back-up programs you can use, this is simply how I came to REALLY learn the importance of backing up and what I use to accomplish it.

If you have ever lost photos to a bad hard drive, memory disk crash or other minor disaster, you know exactly what I’m talking about. In 2005, I had a new computer and even though my photo organization software kept asking me “Do you want to back up your photos?, I thought “I’ll do it later”. Well, this four-month-old computer was in an office near my bedroom. At about two in the morning, the computer made a noise that woke me from a sound sleep. I got up to see what had happened and saw the blue screen of death; I decided to go back to sleep, feeling very certain that I and my photos were in big trouble.

The next morning I discovered that, in fact even though I’d been groggy the night before, I was completely correct. My hard drive was unrecoverable. The tech guy who looked at it said, “I can’t even get it to spin up.” He assured me that I could probably spend hundreds of dollars trying to recover my files, but I didn’t have hundreds of dollars available for that purpose. Luckily, I only lost about 4 months of photos and because it was summer, it meant that other people had taken photos that I could have. And even more luckily, I’d printed some of my favorites from that time and made a couple of scrapbook pages. So, for me, my lesson was learned. You can’t trust your photos to one hard drive. Ever.

As soon as I got my hard drive replaced, I purchased an external hard drive. This was five years ago and hard drives weren’t as cheap as they are now. I’m happy to say, that little (80 gig) hard drive is still plugging along. It now has a friend sitting next to it that is much bigger (500 gigs). When I was in the computer training business, we were fond of saying, ” A hard drive crash is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when.” It was true then and it’s true now.

And, it’s not just hard drive crashes that should concern you. There is robbery, yes, a friend lost her computer and back up devices to thieves. Then of course, there is fire, flooding and other natural disasters. Oh my!

With all the potential threats, you need on site and offsite backup.

It also helps if the backing up is automated. Mine is, and I love that I don’t have to remember.

On site backup is the easiest to set up. My biggest concerns are my photos and my financial data. My financial software asks me about a backup regularly, and I always say yes.  My photos are in Creative Memories Memory Manager software (which I sell) and whenever I make changes to my photo vault,  it backs up the changes to a “shadow copy” on my external drive. At any time if I need to rebuild my vault, the shadow copy keeps all the tags and folder structure I’ve arranged within Memory Manager.

Offsite backup is a bit trickier, but very important. Offsite is for all those disaster type scenarios and there are all types of services. I use Mozy. It is simple enough to set up, but if you have a lot of data to back-up, it isn’t fast. And that is an understatement. It can take months to get everything backed up, but once it’s done, it just does an incremental backup whenever changes are made. It’s pretty reasonably priced too.  Some people just upload all their photos to places like Flickr, or Shutterfly or Creative Memories Photo Center. Personally, I need something automatic. If I have to put it on a to do list, there’s a chance it isn’t going to happen. And we know what happens then…

What is your back-up plan? How is it working for you? I’d love to hear about it.

If you don’t have a plan and you need help; contact me. I’ll be happy to get you started with a plan.